Sudha Siprada of Dynamic Learning Dubai shares her thoughts on Leadership: Secrets of a Nobel Peace Prize Winner
“Allow your passion to become your purpose, and it will one day become your profession.”
– Gabrielle Bernstein –
During a recent Skype conversation with a friend, we were excitedly discussing the news that our ex-boss, Kailash Satyarthi, had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2014. It didn’t surprise either of us that he is the first Indian to be conferred this rare honour because we never doubted his passion or his leadership abilities.
After this call, I reflected on the qualities that made him such a unique leader, and one deserving becoming a Nobel Peace Prize Winner. These three qualities stand out for me;
Firstly, his dedication to his ‘Noble Goal’ ignited a passion in us all.
He is someone who gave up his well-paid engineering job to follow his heart-felt dream even though at that point it was not financially viable and in spite of suffering a barrage of opposition from some very powerful people. He even received threatening calls and letters, but nothing deterred him from pursuing what he says is ‘his calling’.
Secondly, he made time to connect with all of us.
For example, he would never miss out on our office lunch. Every day, the entire office would make time to come together to eat and chat. This time helped us bond as one BIG TEAM and broke the assumption that the Big Boss was somebody who would sit in his glass office and who you could only meet by appointment. At lunch he was one of us: sharing our lunch, laughing at our jokes and curious about our families.
Finally, his high level of emotional intelligence was obvious.
In the 3 years I worked with him, even in the most stressful of situations, I never saw him loose his ‘cool’. There were many times when we were creating plans for rescuing child workers, that we encountered road blocks, some that were potentially dangerous to his life. Even then, I never saw him dwell on these. Instead he would draw on his optimism to find alternatives and use his intrinsic motivation to remove the road blocks in pursuit of his Noble Goal. He was an expert on navigating emotions! Through him I have learnt it’s never too late to follow your passion, you are never ‘superior’ to anybody and you always have a choice to be intentional.
Author: Sudha Sripada, Development Specialist. Sudha is a qualified counselling psychologist and EQ certified practitioner. She works with the Dynamic Learning team to research, design and develop experiential training programmes that blend head and heart to bring about lasting change.